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7 Home Improvements That Can Put Your Neighbors Off

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Many homeowners choose to renovate their homes rather than moving to a new place. Improving your home can help update the construction and systems, add more much-needed space, or add a higher level of convenience for all household members to enjoy.

But while you’re busy updating your home, you could be annoying your neighbors at the same time. Unfortunately, not every residential upgrade will be appreciated by everyone on the block, especially the folks next door. Here are just a few home improvements that – while are intended to improve your home life – can potentially make your neighbors wish you moved.

1. Long, Drawn-Out Projects (Regardless of What They Are)

No matter what type of project you’re planning on undertaking, if it takes forever to get it done, it will most certainly annoy the neighbors. Nobody wants to listen to constant banging and sawing, nor live amongst a constant cloud of dust and a pool of dirt for weeks on end. While large improvements will need a block of time to get done, dragging them out longer than necessary will definitely prompt some snickering from your neighbors, and the dirtier and louder the mess is, the more frustrated the folks around you will get.

2. Overdoing it on Lighting

Installing outdoor lighting to your home and the surrounding property is a great way to add an element of design to your outdoor space. It can help provide focus on specific components of your home, such as a water fountain or a row of trees, or simply illuminate the entire outdoor area once the sun goes down. Lighting is also a handy way to add an extra level of security to your home.

But while all that lighting is adding to the overall atmosphere of your home and playing a key role in securing your property, it can also drive your neighbors crazy.

If you’ve added so much lighting that it lights up both your home and the properties surrounding it, odds are the neighbors won’t be too happy about it. This is especially true if the lights are left on until the wee hours of the night or if they’re directed right at the next-door neighbor’s window.

3. Overworked Irrigation System

If you don’t have time to water your lawn and flowers every morning, an irrigation system might be a good option. But while letting the system tackle the watering for you, your irrigation system might be soaking the neighbor’s property at the same time if you let it run longer than necessary. Not only that, all that standing water will be a haven for pesky mosquitos and other bugs that make for a very unpleasant outdoor experience. 

4. Concrete Jungle

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Some homeowners don’t want to have any grass to mow on a regular basis and will wipe out the green stuff completely in an effort to save themselves the effort. But there’s a big difference between trading in grass for some decorative stone and bushes as opposed to a big blanket of concrete. A never-ending sea of dull gray will not only compromise the look of your home, it’ll also put off the neighbors who would otherwise like to see something other than concrete.

5. Additions That Come Too Close For Comfort

Whether you’re building a sunroom, extending your kitchen, or erecting a large deck, any additions that creep too close to the adjacent neighbor’s property will probably displease them to no end. Of course, you’ll need to get a permit before you build your home addition, and there will certainly be restrictions as to how close it can be to the neighbor’s property.

That said, you don’t necessarily have to go right to the limit of what your local jurisdiction allows. Every homeowner wants some level of privacy, and the closer you get to the property line, the more you compromise your neighbor’s solitude.

6. Massive Outdoor Gazebos and Pergolas That Block the View

If you and your neighbors are fortunate enough to be located in an area that offers stellar views of the city, lake, forest, or golf course, you obviously don’t want to block it in any way. But homeowners can easily put a damper on their neighbors’ views by erecting large outdoor structures in less-than-optimal spots.

In fact, one of the biggest complaints among homeowners when it comes to their neighbors is the construction of oversized structures like gazebos and pergolas that either partially of completely block their views. You can bet that if you ever position an outdoor structure in such a way that it obstructs your neighbors’ views, you definitely won’t be the most popular homeowner on the street.

7. Two-Story Additions That Impede on Privacy

If you need some extra space in your home but have no room to extend outward, you might consider building up instead. This will allow you to construct a separate level for bedrooms, leaving the main level as the living space. But if the neighbors on either side of you maintain their one-level structures, they may feel as though you’ve got a bird’s eye view of them. This is especially true if your second story windows are aligned with their bedroom or bathroom windows.

Not only that, being adjacent to a two-story home can make the next-door neighbor’s bungalow seem caged in, especially if the home on the other side of theirs is also a two-story house.

The Bottom Line

Before you even begin a home renovation project, make sure you’ve contacted the city to make sure the type of work you want to take on is permitted. Then, of course, get a permit for it (if necessary) so that in the event that a neighbor does complain, you’ll have legal documentation to back it up. As always, be courteous to your neighbors, and that includes giving them the heads up before any construction starts and taking them into consideration before you plan your next home improvement project.